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Supporting women

A charity in west London is working hard to break the silence over abuse against women and wants survivors to know that support is at hand.

One in 3 women will face violent abuse in their lifetime, according to research by the World Health Organisation. And abuse isn’t always violent, it can be financial and emotional too.

A significant number of incidents also go unreported, with women suffering in silence because the culture of shame still weighs so heavily on people.

But a charity in west London, which supports women who live in our borough, is working tirelessly to break the taboo and offer support and advice within a safe environment.

Hillingdon Women’s Centre is a small charity with just 3 volunteers and 8 members of staff that provides help to hundreds of abused women every year. This includes one-to-one services, group workshops, and more.

A message of sisterhood

Centre manager Vicky has worked at the centre for the last 5 years. She said: “Ours is a safe space for women, by women. We carry a message of sisterhood and offer practical solutions as well as emotional support.

“There’s no shame in asking for help. You are not going to be judged. It’s wonderful to see the change in so many women that we help – it’s massive. Some services have an end point, we don’t. These women have faced a lot of trauma and we continue to offer our ongoing support.

“We want to make sure they never have to feel alone.”

The centre also hosts art therapy classes as well as mental health and wellbeing sessions.

Vicky adds: “Life may not always be perfect but we want the women we work with to feel equipped and resilient.”

It’s a place where friendships are formed and cultural differences are embraced.

We can help

If you need help, call the centre directly on 01895 259 578, or get in touch using the contact form on their website. They can make you an appointment with a case worker to discuss your situation with you.

The charity relies heavily on the generosity of its supporters and there are a number of ways you can help. There are volunteering and fundraising opportunities as well as sponsorship.

Visit their website for more information or you can find out more from their Hillingdon Women social media accounts.

Easier to find help

Many women and girls experiencing incidents of abuse, harassment, or violence do not know where to go to for help or do not have the confidence to report it. Ealing Council recently set up the Safer Ealing website to raise awareness and provide up-to-date information on activities and services in the borough – and increase confidence in reporting incidents. It links out to local groups offering support, such as Hillingdon Women’s Centre, and intends to build a stronger network of support for those needing it.

Councillor Jasbir Anand, Ealing’s Council’s cabinet member for tackling inequality and crime, said: “Violence and abuse of any kind is wrong. Our role as a council is that of a facilitator; putting our communities and their needs at the centre of all we do. Our refreshed strategy for tackling male violence against women and girls was built on the voices of 3,000 Ealing residents who took part in our consultation. We are committed to improving residents’ safety and investing in life changing services like this centre offers.”

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